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CORE SKILLS FOR

HOCKEY
CORE SKILLS FOR
HOCKEY
Produced by
Gerald Griffin
Leighton House, Water Eaton Lane, Penkridge, Staffordshire ST19 5QE

Drawings and drawing concept Gerald Griffin

Photographs courtesy of hockeyweb.co.uk and www.tobiaspink.co.uk

Printed and bound by


Westpoint Printing Co Ltd
113 Fazeley Street, Digbeth, Birmingham B5 5RX
INTRODUCTION

The aim of this booklet is to complement the DVD which accompanies it. It contains only the main
coaching points for each of the skills demonstrated on the DVD and gives examples of practices that
could be used to develop the skills. It is not, in writing, an attempt to comprehensively cover every
aspect of technique as this can be elicited from the visual images.
The ordering and numbering of the skills in the booklet corresponds with those on the DVD.
These core skills under pin the 5-3-2 system of play which is the one being adopted by all England
national age group teams. The positions referred to in this booklet are those used in this framework.A
detailed description of this system can be found as a download in the coaching section on the England
Hockey website: www.englandhockey.co.uk. The hope is that this will help develop a common approach to
techniques and language across the United Kingdom. There is no copyright on this DVD and we would
urge widespread copying and distribution.

Contents
1. Grips Page 6
2. Passing 7
3. Receiving 9
4. Moving with the ball - dribbling 15
- elimination
5. Goal scoring 18
6. Creating space 23
7. Defending 27
8. Penalty corner 32
9. Player development 33

Key
Player movement
Pass
Dribble
Shot
Cones
Balls

Acknowledgements
World Class Hockey Limited staff of Malcolm Wood and Maggie Souyave for the production of this
piece of work. Stuart Peacock and Roger Newcombe for their assistance with video and video clips.
David Vinson, Lesley Hobley, Karen Brown, Steve Floyd and Bob Crutchley for vetting the technical
aspects. Cath Arter of England Hockey for the section on Player Development. The following players
who contributed both their time and ability: Andrew Brogden, Jonty Clarke, Crista Cullen, Matt Daly,
Gemma Derrington, Jo Ellis, Cathy Gilliat-Smith, Vanessa Hawkins, Martin Jones, Glenn Kirkham, Hannah
Macleod, Rich Mantell, Chris Mayer, Barry Middleton, Rob Moore, Nicky O'Donnell Chloe Rogers, Alex
Scott, Georgina Sharples, Jane Smith, Chloe Strong, Matt Taylor, Kate Walsh, Andy West, Lisa Wooding.

The project was funded jointly by England Hockey and World Class Hockey Ltd.

5
1. GRIPS

1. Basic
2. Double V
3. One-handed
4. Frying pan
5. Reverse
6. Short handle

1. Basic grip
Used for receive, dribble, push, reverse stick pass - off the dribble, rebounds.
Hands apart.
Left hand at the top of the stick.
Both Vs formed by thumb and index finger are in line with the toe edge of the stick.
To rotate the stick the left hand moves to the right and the stick turns through the right hand.

2. Double V grip
Used for hit, long handle slap.
Both hands together at the top of the stick.
Both Vs formed by thumb and index finger in line with the toe edge of the stick, but the right
hand may be moved a little to the right.

3. One-handed
Left hand only
Used for one-handed dribbling, jab, one-handed tackling.
Hand at the top of the stick.
The V formed between thumb and index finger is in line with the back edge of the stick for
dribbling one handed- reverse side. For the other skills the V is in line with the toe edge.
When used on reverse side toe of the stick points downwards, on open side toe points upwards.
Right hand only
Used for one-handed receiving, one-handed tackling, one-handed dribbling.
Hand at the top of the stick.
The V formed between thumb and index finger is in line with the toe edge of the stick.

4. Frying pan
Used for reverse stick sweep, reverse stick flat hit.
Both hands together at the top of the stick.
The Vs formed by the thumb and index fingers of both hands are in line with the flat side of the
stick.

5. Reverse
Used for the scoop.
Hands apart.
The Vs formed by the thumb and index fingers of both hands are in line with the flat side of the stick.

6. Short handle
Used for clip hit, rebounds.
From the basic grip the left hand moves down the stick to join the right hand.
The Vs formed by the thumb and index finger of both hands are in line with the toe edge of the
stick.

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2. PASSING

Open stick
1. Push
2. Hit
3. Clip hit
4. Long-handled slap
5. Aerial

Reverse stick
6. Upright hit
7. Reverse stick - off the dribble
8. Sweep
9. Scoop

Open stick
1. Push
Basic grip hands apart.
Keep low.
Ball starts near right foot.
Stick stays in contact with ball as weight is transferred from right to left foot.
Follow through, keeping stick on ball for as long as possible.
For power need to be side on to the target, butt of stick low with a tighter grip.
2. Hit (off the left foot)
Double V grip.
Ball position level with front foot.
Feet and shoulders in line with target.
Get low.
Flat backswing, head still and level.
Turn the shoulders.
Cock the wrists on the backswing.
Step towards the ball.
Right knee low to the ground at impact.
Hitting on the move
Right foot crosses over behind left foot to get body into the correct position.
3. Clip hit
Left hand slides down the grip to meet the right, in the short handle grip.
Shorter vertical backswing with an emphasis on wrists cocking.
Ball position level with left foot on impact.
4. Long-handled slap
Double V grip.
Step to the ball.
Hands low to the ground.
Sweep the stick along the floor before contact.
Strike the ball just above the hook of the stick.
On follow through the right hand crosses over the left.

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5. Aerial
Basic grip.
Get low, step in.
Ball is in front of left foot.
Side on to target line.
Smoothly accelerate the stick head once in contact with the ball.
Just before release lever the left hand down against the right for power.

Reverse stick
6. Upright hit
Use the double V grip hands at top of stick. Vs in line with back edge.
Toe of the stick points to the floor.
Feet at right angles to the passing line.
Rotate the shoulders to the left on back swing.
Stick nearly vertical at impact.
Ball positioned slightly to left of right foot.
7. Reverse stick - off the dribble
Basic grip hands apart.
Arms away from body.
Short backswing.
Hit the pass with the right hand.
Ball opposite whichever foot is leading.
8. Sweep
Frying pan grip.
Stick stays in contact with the ground on backswing and follow through.
Hit middle of ball with toe edge of stick.
Ball in front of right foot.
9. Scoop
Reverse grip.
Ball level with front foot.
Stick under ball.
Pull up hard with right hand.

8
3. RECEIVING

Scanning prior to receiving will inform the player of defenders and team mates positions. This
information will dictate where the receivers next action will move the ball. Scanning after receiving will
enable the player to check the information already received to help make correct decisions. Players are
advised to look for long passes first as these will be the most dangerous to the defence, and short
passes second.

Open stick
1. From the front
2. From the left
3. From the right
4. From behind in flow
5. From behind with pull left to right
6. Aerial
7. Bouncing ball

Reverse stick
8. From the front
9. From the right
10. From behind in flow
11. From behind with pull right to left
12. Flat two-handed
13. Flat one-handed

Receiving open stick


1. From the front
Basic grip.
Scan, attack the ball.
Stick low to ground.
Let the stick give a little on contact.
Contact just outside right foot.
Angle the stick to control the ball.
Scan.
2. From the left
Basic grip.
Scan.
Stick down early.
Let ball come across body.
Receive outside line of right foot.
Angle the stick to control the ball.
Scan.

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3. From the right
Basic grip.
Scan.
Stick down early to receive.
Turn body towards the ball.
Receive behind right foot.
Receive in stride.
Scan.
4. From behind in flow
Basic grip.
Scan.
Open stick.
Allow the ball to come past body.
Angle the stick to control the ball.
Scan.
5. From behind with pull right to left
Basic grip.
Scan.
Allow ball past feet.
Use one touch to move the ball across body to outside right foot.
Scan.
6. Aerial
Basic grip.
Scan.
Keep the arms away from body.
Stick in front of body pointing to the right.
Take the ball early.
Control ball with the shaft of the stick, do not let it bounce.
Move off at an angle with first touch.
Scan.
7. Bouncing ball
Basic grip.
Scan.
Stick upright.
Attack the ball.
Receive on the shaft.
Angle the stick forward for control.
Scan.

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Receiving reverse stick
8. From the front
Basic grip.
Scan.
Turn to get side on.
Receive just behind the left foot.
Angle the stick to control the ball.
Scan.
Get ball to open side early.
9. From the right
Basic grip.
Scan.
Let ball run across body to receive outside left foot.
Angle the the stick to control the ball.
Scan.
Get ball back to open side early.
10. From behind in flow
Basic grip.
Scan.
Let ball run past body.
Receive with stick angled to control ball.
Scan.
11. From behind pull right to left
Basic grip.
Scan.
Let ball come past body.
One touch to move to ball across the body.
Scan.
Get ball quickly to open stick.
12. Flat two-handed
Basic grip.
Scan.
Stick flat on ground to left of body.
Shaft of stick angled forward to allow transfer to open stick.
Receive on shaft.
Scan.
13. Flat one-handed
One handed left hand at top of stick.
Scan.
Receive on shaft near left hand.
First touch deflection to the forehand.
Scan.

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Practices for passing and receiving
The aim is to give a few practices that can be used in the various passing and receiving skills. It is not
the intention to add coaching points to the practices as these are covered in the particular core skills
coaching points and DVD.
The passing and receiving topics have been linked, because as coaches we would not generally work on
these in isolation as it would not be very time efficient.

1. Passing in 3s
Organisation
Pass in any order.
Themes
No static receive.
Receive on the move.
Fake to receive and move in one
direction; then move in the other.
Disguise on the pass.
Pass and move.
Can be used for hit, clip hit, long-
handled slap and aerial.

Development
Play in 4s with two balls to improve
vision, give more touches and apply
more pressure.

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2. 1, 2, 3, 4
Organisation
3 or 4 teams in coloured bibs.
Each is numbered 1, 2, 3 or 4.
They have to pass in that order with
4 passing to 1.
Themes
Vision - Scan - look to see where
next pass is. Touch - move the ball
to where you want to use it next.
Check- make sure the pass is still
on. Pass. Making this practice 2-
touch will increase pressure.
Can also have: push pass only, clip hit,
long-handled slap or hit, but in a bigger
area, disguise on pass, no static receive,
ball carrying position- hands high on
stick, open body position to see all
passes, accelerate to space.

3. 3v3v3
This is a possession game.
Blacks and reds try to keep
possession against greens.
If possession is lost, the team of 3
that lost it now become the
defenders against the other six.
Vary the size of the playing area to
suit the ability of the players.

4. Positional passing back four


It is crucial in these practices that
individual players practice the skills
that relate to their position.
Organisation
Two balls start from RH and LH at
the same time. The passing pattern
and tempo is maintained. It is
important that the players play as
they would in a game, e.g. RH, scan
before receive, let ball come past
right foot etc.

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Development
Add IR and IL and pass as indicated
on the diagram.

5. Receiving from behind


Organisation
A1 and A4 pass to A2 and A3 at same
time.
A2 and A3 pass to A4 and A1
respectively.
Themes
Receive open stick.
Receive reverse stick.
Lead and receive.
Lead, re-lead and receive.

Next are two good all-round passing and receiving games that can incorporate the many passing
and receiving skills.
The size of the playing area is dictated by the experience of the player - the better the player - the
less space and vice versa.

6. 3v3 with 4 goals


Organisation
Reds versus blacks - greens are
waiting to come on. If a ball is lost,
one of the greens will be designated
to pass a ball on to maintain intensity
in the game.
The object of the game is to make a
completed pass through either side of
any of the four goals.
Teams rotated at suitable intervals.
Themes in these two games:
Ball protection.
Open body prior to receive to see all
the pitch.
Carrying the ball where most passes
can be seen.
Disguise on the pass.
Scan prior to receive.
Scanning defensively (i.e. not ball
watching).

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4. MOVING WITH THE BALL

Dribbling
1. Ball carrying position
2. Slalom
3. Indian dribble
4. Pull back
5. One-handed - open side
6. One-handed - reverse side
7. Comfort on the ball with forward vision

Elimination skills
8. Drag right to left
9. Drag left to right
10. Dummy drag right drag left
11. Dummy drag left drag right
12. Lift open stick
13. Lift reverse stick
14. Push and run around

Dribbling
Allthe dribbling techniques with both hands on the stick have two things in common:
The right hand as high up as possible, whilst still maintaining control, to increase the range of vision.
Constantly scanning to look for passes, not only in front, but left and right and behind.
1. Ball carrying position
Basic grip.
Dribble the ball in front of the body and to the right, at about 2 oclock.
Keep the stick in contact with the ball so that a pass can be made immediately.
Remember that this is the basic position, and when a player is in different parts of the pitch the
ball position will change when searching for a pass.
The general rule will be for the player to carry the ball where they can see most of the pitch.
2. Slalom
Basic grip.
Two methods are shown on the DVD.
Keep the ball in front of the body.
3. Indian dribble
Basic grip.
The left hand is turned to the right so that the stick can be fully rotated.
The stick turns through the right hand; the right hand does not turn over.
Keep the ball out in front of the body.
Use short and long drags.
These frequent ball movements when being closed down make it difficult for defenders.
4. Pull back
Basic grip.
Make short pull backs of the ball whilst continuing to dribble.
Ball to right and in front of the body.
Keep stick in contact with the ball.

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5. One-handed open side
One-handed grip.
Keep the stick in contact with the ball.
Ball carried to the side of the body which helps protect from opponents.
This upright posture gives good vision for frequent scanning.
6. One-handed reverse side
The coaching points are as above, but with the ball carried on the left side of the body.
7. Comfort on the ball with forward vision
Often when being closed down, players turn away from their opponent and lose forward vision, so
pull the ball back to behind right foot, drift into space scanning for passes.

Elimination skills
Following any eliminations it is important to cut out the opponent, i.e. having moved wide, get
back on the original line of run to make it difficult for opponent to tackle back.
8. Drag right to left
Basic grip.
Fake to beat the opponent on reverse stick side.
Wide drag with the open stick to the left.
Control the ball with the reverse stick.
Scan.
Cut out.
9. Drag left to right
Basic grip.
Fake to beat the opponent on open stick side.
Wide drag with the reverse stick to the right.
Control the ball with the open stick.
Scan.
Cut out.
10. Dummy drag right drag left
Basic grip.
Dummy to make a reverse stick pass to the right, let the stick go past the ball.
Wide drag with the open stick to the left.
Control the ball with reverse stick.
Scan.
Cut out.
11. Dummy drag left drag right
Basic grip.
Dummy to make an open stick pass to the left, let the stick go past the ball.
Wide drag with the reverse stick to the right.
Control the ball with the open stick.
Scan.
Cut out.
12. Lift open stick
Basic grip.
Fake to go down open stick side of opponent.
Wide drag with reverse stick.
Keep the ball out in front.
Lift the ball as the flat stick challenge comes in.
Scan.
Cut out.

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13. Lift reverse stick
Basic grip.
Fake to go down reverse stick side of opponent.
Wide drag with the open stick to the left.
Keep the ball out in front.
Lift the ball as the flat stick challenge comes in.
Scan.
Cut out.
14. Push and run around
Basic grip.
Fake to go down open stick side of defender.
As defenders stick comes across, push the ball past the left foot and run around to collect.
Scan.

Practices for dribbling and elimination are to be found at the end of the section on defending as most
of these two sets of skills would be coached at the same time.

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5. GOAL SCORING

1. Hit
2. Push
3. Clip hit
4. Squeeze
5. Chip
6. Sweep - open stick
7. Sweep - reverse stick
8. Reverse stick flat hit
9. Flick - open stick
10. Flick - reverse stick

Deflections
11. Open stick upright
12. Open stick flat
13. Reverse stick upright
14. Reverse stick flat

Rebounds
Players need to be able to score from wherever the ball falls around their body. Therefore they need a
range of skills which will enable them to do this.
It is vital that players scan frequently in the circle so that they can see both the goal (keeping a picture
in their mind of where the goal is whilst their attention is on the ball) and read the defenders position.
In the circle the defenders are constantly trying to front and side mark so that they can beat the
attacker to the ball. Therefore passes need to be played away from the defender.
Players need to practice these techniques in all areas of the circle as very few goals are scored from
the perimeter of the circle.
It is good coaching technique to make as many practices as possible end with a shot(s).

1. Hit
Double V grip.
Ball position level with front foot.
Feet and shoulders in line with target.
Get low.
Flat backswing, head still and level.
Turn the shoulders.
Cock the wrists on the backswing.
Step towards the ball.
Right knee low to the ground at impact.
Hitting on the move
Right foot crosses over behind left foot to get body into the correct position.

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2. Push
Basic grip hands apart.
Keep low.
Ball starts near right foot.
Stick stays in contact with ball as weight is transferred from right to left foot.
Follow through, keeping stick on ball for as long as possible.
For power need to be side on to the target, butt of stick low with a tighter grip.
3. Clip hit
Left hand slides down the grip to meet the right, in the short handle grip.
Shorter vertical backswing with an emphasis on wrists cocking.
Ball position level with left foot on impact.
4. Squeeze
Double V grip.
Ball behind back foot.
Shoulders pointing at the target.
Keep arms and stick in the same plane.
Hit down hard on the top/back of the ball.
5. Chip
Double V grip.
Ball in front of lead foot.
Hit the bottom the ball.
Ball position and stick angle will dictate the height the ball goes.
6. Sweep - open stick
Double V grip.
The ball is played first time.
Weight on left foot on impact.
Hands close to the ground with the stick horizontal.
Contact the ball on the shaft just above the toe.
7. Sweep - reverse stick
Frying pan grip.
The ball is played first time.
Stick stays in contact with the ground on backswing and follow through.
Hit middle of ball with toe edge of stick.
Ball in front of right foot.
8. Reverse stick flat hit
Frying pan grip.
Flat back swing.
Ball level with right foot.
Stick is as horizontal as possible at impact.
Contact the ball with the edge of the stick.
9. Flick - open stick
Basic grip.
Sideways on.
Ball can start behind the left foot with a short drag before release or it can be level with left foot.
Stick is under the ball and the pushing action is upwards.
10. Flick - reverse stick
Reverse grip.
Ball just to the right of the right foot.
Stick is under the ball.
Right hand pulls up strongly.

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Deflections - the ball is played first time
11. Open stick upright
Basic grip.
Stick is placed down in the line of the pass.
Stick face angled to change the direction of the pass towards the goal.
Angle the face of the stick backwards to lift the ball.
Ball played with the toe of the stick.
12. Open stick flat
Basic grip.
Stick is horizontal.
Stick angled to change the direction of the ball towards the goal.
Ball played with the shaft of the stick.
Angle the face of the stick backwards to lift the ball.
13. Reverse stick upright
Reverse stick grip.
Stick is placed in the line of the pass.
Stick face angled to change the direction of the pass towards the goal.
Angle the face of the stick backwards to lift the ball.
Ball is played with the hook of the stick.
14. Reverse stick flat
One-handed left hand grip.
Stick is horizontal.
Stick angled to change the direction of the ball to the goal.
Ball is played with the shaft of the stick.
Angle the face of the stick backwards to lift the ball.

Rebounds
Rebound techniques are generally one-touch techniques and are too numerous and varied to describe
in detail, so they are presented only as visual images. There are, however, some general points to make:
Start with basic grip.
Prepare early with body and stick low.
When a team mate is shooting follow the path of the ball. Do not watch the goal keeper.
Be prepared to improvise.

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PRACTICES FOR GOAL SCORING

Deflections

1. A 1 dribbles through cones and


shoots.
A 2 plays second ball immediately
after the shot to A 3 or A 4 for
deflection. A3 and A4 may
occasionally elect to pass second ball
back to A 1. No rebound on the first
shot. Rebounds played out on the
second shot.

2. A1 leads to A 2, who passes for a


deflection.
Then A3 leads for A 4.
A1 then joins back of A2s queue. A2
goes to A 4, A4 to A3, A3 to A1.
Development
To play a different sort of deflection,
make the pass A2 to A3, then A4 to
A1 etc.

Close in shooting

3. A1 and A2 dribble the ball through


the cones in turn, and push, flick or
slap shot usually low and in the
corner of the goal.

4. A1 and A2 dribble the ball through


cones in turn and pass to A3 for a
close in shot.

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5. A1 or A2 dribbles straight in for shot
or pass.

Perimeter shooting

6. D1 and D2 try to hit flat balls


between the cones.
A1, A2 and A3 attempt to intercept
dribble into circle and shoot. Two
non-interceptors rebound.

Developments
1. As above, but now As must make a pass before the shot.
2. As above, but now D who did not pass becomes an active defender.
3. As in1, but now both Ds try to stop the As scoring.

Reverse stick shooting

7. A1 dribbles through cones.


A2 leads then re-leads sharply and
signals for a pass from A1 for a
reverse stick shot.
Development
Different parts of the circle.

8. A1 dribbles into circle, drags left to


reverse stick as they encounter two
sets of cones, then shoots reverse
stick.

For additional goal scoring practices see the section on creating space.

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6. CREATING SPACE

1. V-cut
2. Using the blind spot
3. Backdoor
4. Lead to attack the back of the defender (reverse)
5. Lead to attack the back of the defender (open)
6. Creating space 2 v1

1. V-cut
Used mainly against back and side marking defenders.
Move in a straight line towards opponent and slightly in the direction of the goal.
Push off strongly on the foot nearest opponent.
Move in a straight line slightly towards the passer.
2. Using the blind spot
Used against side and front marking defenders.
Get behind defender and in line with defender and ball.
When defender looks at the ball, either move sharply back to receive pass in the space made away
from the defender, or fake to do that and receive on the other side.
3. Backdoor
Used against front marking.
Move towards the goal.
When the defender looks away, move quickly to the ball, but on the other side of the defender.
4. Lead to attack the back of the defender (reverse)
Make a diagonal run behind the defender to receive on the reverse stick.
If the defender covers the move, side step off the right foot.
Re-lead to receive on open stick.
5. Lead to attack the back of the defender (open)
Make a diagonal run behind the defender to receive on the open stick.
If the defender covers the move, side step off left foot.
Re-lead to receive on reverse stick.
6. Creating space 2 v1
Note when practising this move, the defender is only defending the potential receiver - and is not
defending a 2 v1.
Dribbler changes direction sharply towards receiver.
The receiver darts out to the right.
This creates space for the pass.
The receiver gets level with the defender so that the pass eliminates the defender. If the defender
stops the pass being given by getting in the passing lane, the receiver re-leads.
The passer disguises the pass by looking at where the receiver was and delivers a weighted
through pass.

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Practices for creating space
All of the following practices are also good for passing and receiving.

1. Passing circuit
Note all movements of receivers are
from one cone to the next.
1, dribbles through cones pass to
2, who moves towards cone to
receive pass and pass to
3, who moves towards cone to
receive pass and pass to
4, who moves towards cone to
receive pass dribble and cross for
5, who moves to receive pass and
shoot.
6, dribbles through cones and passes
to
7, who moves towards cone to
receive pass and pass to
8, who makes a lead to get free
before dribbling through cones and
passing to
9, who receives in stride and dribbles
through cones and crosses to
10, who gets free and shoots
All players follow pass to next station.

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2. D1 dribbles at pace.
D2 leads out.
D3 get free lead to receive from D2s
cross.
D3 shoots.
All move round one spot.
Same down the other side.
Then for left hand side.
Then with the receiver re-leading.

3. D1 only defends against A2 to try to


stop A2 receiving. D1 does NOT
defend the 2 v 1.
A1 and A2 attack as in the DVD.
If A2 receives, the pass goes to A3 for
a shot.
If A2 cannot get free, A1 passes to A3
for a shot.
At the same time, A 4, 5, 6 and D2
operate on the other side of the
pitch.

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4. A1 feeds other As who control and
shoot.
Development to other As making 1
or 2 passes before the shot (as in
diagram).

5. A1 passes into circle and receives ball


back.
As all run a sudden move to get free.
A1 passes to A2.
As run a sudden move to get free.
A2 passes in.
As develop a shot or pass.

6. As above, but now with defenders in.

7. D passes to A1, and closes down.


A1 passes to A2 and leads to try to
get free for pass and shot.
A2 holds for two seconds and if a
pass cannot be made, passes to A3.
A3 the same to A4.
If the pass cannot be made or is not
successful, defender wins.
Next pair go.
This is also a good practice for
individual defending in the circle.

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7. DEFENDING

1. Closing down and channelling - open stick


2. Closing down and channelling - reverse stick
3. Interception - reverse stick
4. Interception - open stick

Tackling - open stick

5. Two-handed block
6. One-handed block

Tackling - reverse stick

7. One-handed block
8. Steal

1. Closing down and channelling - open stick


Close down on a curve to force the attacker onto the open stick side.
Maintain the distance of a stick and step away from opponent.
Get as side on as possible.
Jab with stick and fake with body to keep opponents eyes on the ball, so that they cannot see
passes.
2. Closing down and channelling - reverse stick
Generally we want to close and channel onto the open stick side where defence is strongest.
There are, however, circumstances when channeling on the reverse side is required. If the attacker
receives on the left of the defender and the defender is not in a position to overtake and force
onto the open stick is one instance. The other is when there is no defensive cover in place, and to
force onto open stick would be dangerous. This would tend to happen in the defensive inside left
channel. A general rule would be, if in doubt force to the outside.
Scan to see if cover defender is in place.
Close on a curve to force to the reverse side.
Maintain a distance of a stick and step away from opponent.
Get as side on as possible.
Fake with stick and body to keep opponents eyes on the ball, so that they cannot see passes.
Interception
Defender needs to be in a position that is ball side of their opponent and which will enable them
to see their opponent and the ball.
Distance from opponent will be determined by the opponents distance from the ball, i.e. the
closer the opponent is to the ball, the closer the defender is and vice versa. The correct distance
will be that which enables the defender to make up ground and intercept. By defending in this way
the defender can provide cover for fellow defenders and restrict space through which the ball can
be passed, whilst still maintaining a marking role.
3. Interception - reverse stick
Basic grip.
Beat opponent to the ball.
Receive on the hook of the stick.
Angle the stick forward slightly to control the ball.
Get the ball to the open side quickly and scan for passes.

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4. Interception - open stick
Basic grip.
Beat opponent to the ball.
Stick low early.
Receive on the toe of the stick.
Scan for passes.

Tackling - open stick

5. Two-handed block
Basic grip.
Do not get stick down early (immobile in this position), but tackle at the last moment.
Stick at right angles to the line of the ball.
Use the shaft of the stick.
Scan for passes.
6. One-handed block
One-handed grip.
Can use right or left hand, depending on the distance needed to reach.
Jab first, then lay the stick flat on the floor, tackle at the last moment.
Scan for passes.

Tackling - reverse stick


7. One-handed block
One-handed grip, left hand.
Extend left arm.
Make the tackle at the last moment.
Lay the stick flat on the floor.
Use the shaft of the stick.
Drag to open stick side.
Scan for passes.
8. Steal
This can be done with one or two hands on the stick.
Run behind and to the left side of the opponent.
Extend the left arm.
Trap the ball then pull towards tackler.
Drag the ball to the open stick side.
Scan for passes.

Practices for dribbling, eliminating and defending


1. Ball carrying position
At the same time A1, 2, 3, 4 dribble to
the diagonally opposite corner
Then A5, 6, 7, 8 go etc.

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2. Slalom/Indian dribble
A1 dribbles through cones and
shoots.
Then receives a pass from A7 for a
close in shot.
Then A4 repeats A1s actions,
receiving a pass from A8 for a close in
shot.

3. A1 and A2 dribble towards each


other, perform the same elimination
skill and cut out.
Then A3 and A4 go.

The following group of practices can


be used for either individual
defending or attacking.

4. Continuous 1v 1.
A starts with ball and dribbles
towards B, who closes A down
A is trying to beat B and get ball in
control over the end line that B
started from.
B is trying to dispossess A and score
over As line, with A tackling back.
If the ball goes out over a side line
the restart is a dribble in
If there is a score the loser runs to
the other end of the grid then D and
C go etc.

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5. Wing half/full back/inside forward
closes down and forces outside
because no cover defender in place.
Attacker goes1 on 1 for shot.

6. Defender passes the ball to attacker.


Attackers go 1 on 1 and try to
penetrate the circle.
Defenders priority, stop player getting
through gate 1, then gate 2, then gate3.
Defender engages as far away from
circle edge as possible.
Work both sides of the circle.
Note on left hand defensive side no
cover defender in place, so force
outside.

7. A1 to A2 in stride.
A2 tries to beat D1 in box and cross
for A3 in circle.
If D1 wins it he passes to A1 who
then passes to A3.

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Attackers defending

8. LW feeds RH then closes down


LW tries to stop RH dribbling
through goals and attempts to
dispossess. If LW wins ball he passes
to CF, gets ball back and shoots.
Same on right hand side.

9. This drill could simulate CF closing


LB or RW closing LH.
D1 passes to A1 then closes down.
A1 passes to As to attack GK1.
If Ds win ball they counter attack.

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8. PENALTY CORNER

All outfield players should master at least one of these secondary skills, and teams should be trying to
develop several players as threats at the top of the circle.

1. Injection
2. Trap
3. Drag flick
4. Hit

1. Injection
The technique shown is the most commonly used one on artificial turf. However, the ball can be
hit in with either a clip hit or a normal hit, or pushed in with a standard push.
Two ways of aiming :
By getting side on and lining up on the trapper.
By standing behind the ball and picking out a mark on the pitch about half a metre in front of
the ball in line with the trapper, and playing the ball over this mark that is within the
peripheral vision.
No preliminary movement that will indicate to the defenders when the ball is about to be injected
so they cannot anticipate when to run out.
Feet, hips and shoulders parallel to the target line.
Ball is in the hook of the stick level with or slightly behind the right foot.
Right foot behind the line.
Drag the ball in a straight line to the trapper.
2. Trap
Different types of trap are shown, but they all have the same principles in common.
Stick horizontal with the toe touching the ground.
Ball normally trapped on the shaft.
Ball trapped outside then moved into the circle for the strike at goal.
Ball trapped outside the circle for the drag flick.
3. Drag flick
Timing is crucial. The contact with the ball needs to occur as soon as possible following the trap.
Basic grip but with left hand rotated to the left.
The ball is trapped outside the circle and dragged in.
Using a four step approach - right foot leads off, then left, right foot crosses behind left, then left,
and collect ball. An extra step can be added which would mean starting with the left foot leading.
Ball is picked up on the shaft of the stick - hands low to the ground.
Right foot lands and gets as far past the ball as is comfortable.
Upper body is parallel to the ground and rotates to the left during execution.
Left foot takes as long a stride as possible with the foot pointing forwards.
The stick maintains contact with the ball for as long as possible.
4. Hit
Double V grip.
Timing is crucial. The contact with the ball needs to occur as soon as possible following the trap
and as soon as the ball is in the circle.
The ball is trapped outside the circle and rolled in.
Use the four or five step approach as described in the drag flick.
All other aspects of technique are as the in the hit in the passing section.

Practices for penalty corners


Repetition of the skill, either singly or in units of twos and threes.

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9. PLAYER DEVELOPMENT

The core skills information contained in this booklet and accompanying DVD provides technical
information on how to coach the basic skills of hockey and develop them to be applied in game
situations.
In order to develop players to reach their full potential, it is also important for coaches to recognise
how young players develop physical, psychological and emotional characteristics as they grow and
mature. These will have a significant impact upon their ability to learn hockey skills, perform them, and
apply them in game situations.
Coaches are encouraged to recognise how young players develop the physical and psychological
capabilities necessary to perform a particular skill or task, and find ways of simplifying the complex
activities of the game to suit a young players physical and psychological abilities at any given period of
their development. Asking a youngster to perform a task beyond their physical and mental capabilities
most often results in failure, and brings only frustration and de-motivation for both player and coach. If
this is not addressed, it will drastically affect the chances of retaining the players interest in hockey as a
lifelong participant.
In common with many other sports, hockey began a Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD) project in
late 2003. LTAD is based upon a staged developmental process advanced by Dr Istvan Balyi which links
more closely the coaching and development of players to their physical and psychological growth. For
hockey in England, LTAD is seen as a potential catalyst for adopting a more consistent approach to
player development, encouraging best practice by all those involved in developing young hockey players.
It is intended to devise a model for the development of young hockey players that will achieve
nationwide adoption, bringing an integrated, systematic approach to player development that enables
players to reach their full potential, and fosters long term participation. The model will identify the
needs of young players at each stage of their growth and development, and match this with associated
guidance that everyone involved in player development can use.
As work-in-progress at the time of going to press, it is inappropriate to include early drafts of hockeys
LTAD work here. However, much of the research underpinning LTAD is based upon accepted evidence
of how young people develop physical, psychological and emotional characteristics, and their relationship
to physical activity. A summary is given below as an introduction to the subject for coaches.

Growth and development and their effect on coaching

Young people all follow the same pattern of growth and development, although there will be significant
differences between individuals in the timing and magnitude of these changes (Armstrong & Welsman,
1997). In relation to physical activity, there will be 4 key phases of growth and development:

1. Late childhood.
2. Adolescence - early puberty.
3. Adolescence - late puberty.
4. Early adulthood.

The following tables identify, for each of the key phases of growth and development listed above:
a. the main physical, psychological and emotional characteristics that young people develop.
b. the implications of this to their performance capabilities in sport.
c. the implications to coaching practice.

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1. Late Childhood

Table 1a: Physical development characteristics in late childhood and their implications.

Basic characteristics Consequences to performance Implications to the coach


capabilities and limitations
Larger muscle groups are more The child is more skilful in General basic skill should be
developed than smaller ones. gross movements involving developed during this phase
large muscle groups rather than rather than intricate stick
precise coordinated movements skills. As a right handed sport
involving the interaction of it is important to maintain
many smaller muscles. balance throughout a players
development to avoid
developing a dominant
response that may result in
injury in the long term e.g.
ability to push off from either
left or right legs equally well
developed.
The size of the heart is Endurance capacity of the Short duration, high intensity
increasing in relation to the rest young participants, however, is (anaerobic) activities need to
of the body. The cardiovascular more than adequate for most be planned with adequate rest.
system is still developing. activities (children are little Endurance must be developed
aerobic machines). through playing and games as
children do not have the
attention span for continuous
work.
Ligamentous structures are The body is very susceptible to Slow progression in hopping or
becoming stronger, but the ends injuries through excessive bounding activities. Use only
of the bones are still stress or heavy pressure. own body weight or medicine
cartilaginous and continue to ball exercises.
calcify.
Basic motor patterns become There is great improvement in Specific activities and games
more refined towards the end speed, agility, balance, should emphasise coordination
of phase and the balance coordination and flexibility and learning through repeating
mechanism in the inner ear is toward the end of this phase. movement (developing
gradually maturing. kinesthetic sense).
During this phase, girls develop Sex differences are not of any Training and playing together
coordination skills faster than great consequence at this stage can be emphasised at this age
boys but generally there are no in development. and phase.
differences between boys and
girls.

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Table 1b: Psychological development characteristics in late childhood and their implications.

Basic characteristics Consequences to performance Implications to the coach


capabilities and limitations
Attention span is short and Young players cannot sit and Use short, clear and simple
children are very much action listen for long periods of time. instructions. Children want to
oriented. Memory is developing move and participate in action.
in a progressive way.
Children in this phase have very Children are generally leader Coaches should adopt a
limited reasoning ability. Later in oriented - love to be led! follow me or follow the
the phase there is a growing leader approach and ensure
capacity for more abstract that all activities are fun and
thought. well planned.
The repetition of activities is Children do not learn the skills Coaches must be able to
greatly enjoyed. Young players correctly just by trial and error. provide a correct
improve their abilities through demonstration of the basic
experience. skills required at this level.
Imagination is blossoming. Experimentation and creativity While playing and practicing
should be encouraged. encourage input (opinion) from
the children. They love to try
new things and are ready to
try almost anything.

Table 1c: Emotional development characteristics in late childhood and their implications.

Basic characteristics Consequences to performance Implications to the coach


capabilities and limitations
The childs self concept is Youngsters perceive these On a regular basis they need
developing at this phase by experiences as a form of self positive reinforcement
experiences and comments evaluation. I am a good person from the coach. This will
from others. if I do well, Im a bad person if I provide strong motivation to
do poorly. continue with the activity.
Children like to be the centre When situations become Select technical and tactical
of focus and attention. threatening, they quickly lose activities in which success is
confidence. virtually guaranteed. Progress
from simple to complex
gradually.
The influence of peers becomes Acceptance into the peer group At this phase the coach must
a very strong driving force often depends upon ones be capable of properly
behind all activities. abilities in physical skills and assessing the basic skills and
activities. providing a varied repertoire
of practical opportunities for
technical and tactical
development and
improvement.
The child begins to understand They can understand and play Participation and fun to be
the need for rules and structure. simple games with simple rules emphasised versus winning.
and will tend to question rules Focus on the processes not
and expect thoughtful answers. on the outcome and have
lots of FUN!

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2. Early Puberty

Table 2a: Physical development characteristics in early puberty and their implications.

Basic characteristics Consequences to performance Implications to the coach


capabilities and limitations
Significant proportional changes During growth spurts Monitor training carefully and
occur in bone, muscle and fat adaptation is influenced by individualise the content of
tissue. sudden changes of body training to ensure adaptation.
proportions. Children undergoing growth
spurts can sometimes seem
uncoordinated until their body
adapts.
Girls begin their growth spurt Early in this phase, girls are Chronological age may not be
between 12-14 years and faster and stronger than boys, the most appropriate way to
boys between the ages of 12- later in the phase boys are group players.
15 years. Girls attain a becoming faster and stronger
maximum rate of growth at an than girls.
average age of 11, boys at an
average age of 14 years.
Primary and secondary sex After the onset of menarche, Situations when fear, guilt or
characteristics manifest iron levels of girls should be anxiety brought about by
themselves during this period. monitored regularly. sexual development should be
The normal range for onset of avoided.
menarche for girls can be
anywhere from 10-16 years.
Smaller muscle groups are Speed, agility and coordination With the improvement of fine
becoming more developed. are still improving rapidly during motor movement all basic
this stage. technical skills can be
introduced and mastered.
Players should learn how to
train during this phase,
understanding the need to
develop physical, technical, and
tactical capacities.
During this developmental A change in the centre of Some of the already learned
phase the various parts of the gravity, length of limbs and core skills have to be refined (re-
body do not grow at the same strength will determine the learnt) again, since the growth
rate. The growth rate of the content of training. of limbs will impact on the
legs and arms will reach a peak technique.
prior to that of the trunk.
A significant increase in red The oxygen transportation The increase in body mass
blood cells occurs during this system is still developing and requires more structured
phase, especially in boys due to aerobic endurance is continuing aerobic training. Only short
the male hormone testosterone. to increase. duration of high intensity
(anaerobic) activities are
recommended.
The central nervous system Agility, balance and coordination Use the warm up to further
(CNS) is almost fully developed. is fully trainable. development of CNS activities
such as agility and
coordination.

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Table 2b: Psychological development characteristics in early puberty and their implications.

Basic characteristics Consequences to performance Implications to the coach


capabilities and limitations
Abstract thinking becomes Decision making through more Decision making on tactical
more firmly established. complex technical training and strategic solutions should
should be introduced. be introduced, based upon the
skill level of the player.
Young players develop a new This may result in a strong fear Create optimum learning
form of egocentric thought. of failure. environment, match skill and
Much emphasis is placed upon drill levels. Introduce simple
self-identity. coping strategies,
concentration skills and mental
imagery.
Young players are eager to Individual specific direction and Positive reinforcement is
perfect their skills. structure in the learning imperative. The difference
process is required. A variety of between physical and mental
methods to measure success development can vary to a
are important to maintain great extent, the coach must
motivation. be particularly careful not to
pick the early developers and
neglect or de-select the late
developers.The coachs ability
to demonstrate specific skills is
important. Audiovisual material
and video feedback may help
to create a mental image.

Table 2c: Emotional development characteristics in early puberty and their implications.

Basic characteristics Consequences to performance Implications to the coach


capabilities and limitations
There is a tremendous influence Values and attitudes are being The coach should exercise
on behaviour from peer groups. created and reinforced by the strong direction and
group. supervision. A role model for
young players at this phase is
very important.
During this phase players are Some players may be less Coach must have an open
capable of cooperating and responsible mainly due to a fear communication with the
accepting some responsibility. of failure. players.
Tension generally exists Communication channels Coach is usually better
between adults and adolescents. should be kept open by the accepted than other adults and
adult, as all teenagers need help should always attempt to
even though they do not foster two-way
recognise the need, or seem communication. Young players
grateful for the help. should have an input into
decision making processes.

37
It is important that young Deprivation of these qualities Early maturers often become
players at this developmental often leads to exaggerated leaders and excel in physical
level be able to display and/or unacceptable behaviour. performance. Coaches must
tenderness, admiration and not show favouritism as this
appreciation. can have negative effects on
other participants
development.
Physical, mental and emotional Feelings of confusion or anxiety The coachs communication
maturity do not necessarily may exist as a result. skills and understanding are
develop at the same rate. important in these regards.
There is a desire to have Social activities are important Co-educational activities are
friends of the opposite sex. events for this age group. recommended.

3. Late Puberty

Table 3a: Physical development characteristics in late puberty and their implications.

Basic characteristics Consequences to performance Implications to the coach


capabilities and limitations
The circulatory and respiratory These systems are generally Aerobic and anaerobic systems
system reach maturity. capable of giving maximum can be trained for maximum
physical output. output. Full sport specific
energy system training should
be implemented.
Increase in height and weight Muscles have grown to their Strength training using own
gradually lessen. Stabilisation mature size but muscular weight exercises can be used
occurs in the muscular system. strength continues to increase to improve overall strength
reaching its peak in the late development. Neuromuscular
twenties. training should be optimised
during this phase.
Skeletal maturation continues in Connective tissues are still Continue to utilise progressive
males and females. strengthening. overloading principles in
training.
By age 17, girls have generally Proportionally girls gain more Endurance (aerobic) training
reached adult proportions, weight than boys during this for girls to be optimised.
whereas boys do not reach phase. Coaches should be aware of
such proportions until several how to deal with weight gain
years later. and its impact on performance
and figure. Players should learn
how to apply what they have
learnt competitively including
all technical and tactical
components.

38
Table 3b: Psychological development characteristics in late puberty and their implications.

Basic characteristics Consequences to performance Implications to the coach


capabilities and limitations
Generally, by age 16, the brain Players can cope with multiple Coaches should ensure the
has reached its adult size but strategies and tactics, refinement of all technical and
continues to mature particularly near the end of the tactical skills within more
neurologically for several more phase. complex game situations.
years.
Critical thinking is developing The capacity of self-analysis and Decision making should be
well during this phase. correction is developing. developed further through
technical and tactical
development.

Table 3c: Emotional development characteristics in late puberty and their implications.

Basic characteristics Consequences to performance Implications to the coach


capabilities and limitations
Peer group influence is still a Independent decision making Players should be given the
powerful force. and leadership skills are opportunity to develop through
becoming more developed. participation in appropriate
leadership or responsible roles,
(e.g. team captain, athlete
representative, etc.) but strong
direction and discipline must be
maintained.
Players are searching for a Self is still very susceptible to Positive evaluation of
stable, balanced self-image. successes and failures. Coping performances and positive
techniques are useful. reinforcement are imperative.
Activities and interaction with Male players must be aware Facilitate the recognition of the
the opposite sex play strong that female athletes now face a former issues through education
roles during this phase. problem of femininity versus and club programmes.
sport development. Female
players must be aware that
male athletes now face a
problem of relating
performance to masculinity.

39
4. Early Adulthood

Table 4a: Physical development characteristics in early adulthood and their implications.

Basic characteristics Consequences to performance Implications to the coach


capabilities and limitations
Physiologically the body reaches All physiological systems are Physical training programs
maturity during this phase. fully trainable. should employ the most up to
date techniques and sport
science information to
facilitate maximum adaptation
and minimise injuries. Ensure
that all muscle groups and
body alignments are well
balanced, complemented with
optimum flexibility ranges. For
elite athletes, state of the art
testing and monitoring
programmes should be used.
Overtraining and overstress
should be carefully monitored.
Final skeletal maturation in Regular medical monitoring
females occurs at about 19-20 should be organised for elite
years and in males about three athletes with additional blood
years later. tests for female players to
check for anaemia.

Table 4b: Psychological development characteristics in early adulthood and their implications.

Basic characteristics Consequences to performance Implications to the coach


capabilities and limitations
Neurologically the brain Players are capable of self- Winning becomes the major
matures about 19-20 years of analysing and correcting and objective.
age. refining skills. Athletes can
analyse and conceptualise all
facets of their sport.
Well developed information Principles of adult learning
processing skills improve the should be implemented at this
players ability to visualise level.
verbal instructions.
There is a complete However, the young adult must Involve the players in decision
understanding and acceptance perceive the rules and structure making and planning of team or
of the need for rules, as being clearly defined and fair. group activities.
regulations and structure.

40
Table 4c: Emotional development characteristics in early adulthood and their implications.

Basic characteristics Consequences to performance Implications to the coach


capabilities and limitations
There is a need to be self The players are ready to Goal setting should be strongly
directed and independent. assume responsibility and emphasised to give definite
accept the consequences of direction and purpose to the
their actions. athletes overall programme.
Self-actualisation and self- The athletes need to be
expression are important. treated as adults, with respect.
Direction and structure
provided by the coach is still
important.
Major decision on career, Major changes in interests, Professional guidance should
education and lifestyle are hobbies and physical activities be advised to consider off-
priority at some point in this occur during this phase. season and educational
phase. pursuits.
Interactions with the opposite Athletes must have ample
sex continue to be a strong opportunities for independent
priority with lasting social interaction.
relationships developing.

References

Armstrong N and Welsman J (1997) : Young people and physical activity. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Balyi I (2002): A step by step planner for annual training, competition and recovery programmes. ATP,
Victoria, Canada.

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